For the next 5 weeks the attention of our bulletin articles will be to support our readings from Immerse: Messiah. If you haven’t decided to join us for Immerse yet, it’s not too late. We have 5 groups meeting on 5 different days in 5 different locations. Hopefully you can make one of them fit into your schedule.
This week what really stood out to me was from Romans 14 (Immerse pg. 198). After talking about differing views about food between Gentile and Jewish Christians in Rome, he also talks about calendar differences between the two. Coming from very different backgrounds means they obviously have very different practices. Yet Paul’s goal is not who is right and who is wrong. Instead his goal is unity. Each group should be fully convinced they are right before God (even though they are not practicing the same things!)
Again, Paul is concerned with their unity, not uniformity!
He then summarizes his argument, and gives us some clues as to what might be happening in Rome.
So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For the Scriptures say,
“ ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bend to me,
and every tongue will declare allegiance praise to God.’ ”
Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other.
Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.Romans 14:10-13 NLT (emphasis added)
Apparently these Roman Christians were spending a great deal of time accusing and attacking each other. That’s acting like Satan, not Christ. (FYI – “satan” means accuser)
Paul isn’t concerned with matters of opinion, he’s concerned with infighting that might ruin someone’s faith in the Lordship of Christ. Specifically in the context, don’t appear to be worshipping idols (which are demons – see Deut. 32:17 & 1 Cor. 10:20) and in doing so cause another person to fall into this practice.
The history of the Church is full of those who excelled at accusing and condemning other Christians. Sadly this is not just a sin of the past. It still happens today, and people lose their faith as a result. This is exactly what Paul is telling us not to do!
Disagreements will happen. God knows that. Paul tells us to seek unity, not uniformity.
But the moment we let these disagreements turn into accusations and mud slinging, we’ve joined team satan. (Rev. 12:10)
And that’s simply not a team I’m willing to be a part of. How about you?